Biodiversity in Our Changing Mountains - Celebrating International Mountain Day 2020
MRI News
article written by MRI
07.12.20 | 08:12

Every year since 2003, the UN declared International Mountain Day (IMD) is observed on 11 December, highlighting the issues and achievements that concern mountains, worldwide. This year, we reflect on the theme of “biodiversity” and the importance of recognising the value of mountains, for instance in hosting about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. We also recall the crucial contributions that the mountain research community can make to safeguard mountain biodiversity as a global common good.

Why the need for an International Mountain Day?

The United Nations (UN) International Days are occasions to raise awareness on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. Each International Day offers the opportunity to organize activities related to the theme of the day, serving as a catalyst for awareness-raising actions. Furthermore, these Days are useful means to advise States on actions needed to tackle the serious problems around which many of these dates revolve.

The UN declared International Mountain Day (IMD), celebrated each year on 11 December, is one key opportunity in which to galvanise interest and action around the issues that affect mountains worldwide, including the communities and the ecosystems that depend on them. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN to declare 2002 as the UN International Year of Mountains. The first IMD was celebrated for the first time the following year, in 2003, and observed ever since to this day. 

How can the mountain research community contribute to the cause?

IMD is a great opportunity for the research community to contribute and participate in raising the cause for mountains, for instance by sharing and highlighting key findings, insights and important gaps in our knowledge on key challenges that affect mountains, as well as help identify the opportunities that offer prospects to address them.

In keeping with this year’s IMD theme, Elevating Mountains in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has been one key activity this year to help connect and facilitate policy-relevant knowledge on mountains and biodiversity, to which the MRI continues to contribute in collaboration with the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), UN Environment and GRID-Arendal (GRIDA). As Rob Marchant (MRI Science Leadership Council member) reminded us in his guest editorial for the October 2020 MRI Global Newsletter, these partnerships and collaborations lie at the heart of what is needed to ensure our collective scientific contributions are useful “as we move into the post-COVID UN Decade on Ecological Restoration and work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals“, too.

This year, a number of events take place this week in the lead up to IMD 2020, including many that feature contributions from scientists and researchers who work towards making a difference for mountains. In many cases, these events can also facilitate greater connections and meaningful dialogues with policy and decision-makers, as well as the general public, thereby helping to inspire and guide our work as researchers to be relevant for society. We encourage you all to be part of it!

A brief round-up of key events this week

A non-exhaustive selection of the many events taking place this week that feature you – the MRI community – are listed below, some of which offer the opportunity for researchers to engage with policy and society and contribute to the cause and advocacy in and for our changing mountains:

Tuesday 8

Wednesday 9

Thursday 10

Friday 11

Join these and many more events on this International Mountain Day in 2020. Share your events and join the international conversation on social media using the hashtag #MountainsMatter.



For more information on IMD and its history, visit the UN website:

Photo by Pixabay user xuuxuu